Dubious Dubai Hits Pause Button

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Donald Trump in Chicago

As John noted earlier, a dropping tide sinks all boats. Spiegel Online tells us that The Donald's hotel on Dubai's Palm Jumeirah island has been "postponed." A lot of other projects are tanking as well, perhaps bringing to an end an era of gaudy, glorious excess.

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Its tag line was "Greater Height, More Drama, Unmistakable Presence."

Spiegel Online writes:

But now the enormous real estate bubble of the sheikhs, oligarchs and neo-capitalist financiers has burst. The international economic crisis has caught up with the nouveau-riche high flyers in the Middle East and Asia who, until recently, had gloatingly watched the collapse of the West, where one skyscraper project after the next has been abandoned. But now the brakes are also being put on one construction project after another in Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Russia.

One of the centers of the new era was Dubai, a city on the Persian Gulf with no history, no special mineral resources, but with a seemingly unlimited future. Dubai was a promising real estate mirage which gradually became reality. Its mantra of "build it and they will come" worked for years. The masters of Dubai even created new luxury building sites by developing artificial islands in the shape of palm trees. Two groups of islands are already complete, but a planned third group is now likely to be put on hold.

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Jumeirah Gardens by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture -"postponed"

But they also note that the current economic troubles might lead to a better, greener product.

Does this mean that the crisis will at least awaken a green conscience, because environmentally responsible construction spells cost savings in the long term?

[Architect] Alexander Rieck believes that a corresponding shift is taking place, and that the quality debate will begin after the "big market reassessment." According to Rieck, "the signs of the times are clear, and the environment is becoming increasingly important worldwide."

Perhaps the deceleration brought on by the financial crisis will trigger a change in attitudes. Perhaps the energy-saving factor will be the strongest selling point in the future, and perhaps a new aesthetic of environmentally friendly simplicity will develop as a result. Or maybe not.


Certainly there is some projects to look forward to. There is Dubai's Xeritown, "a novel example of man and nature working in harmony, an entire town is to be built along a north-south axis to take advantage of cool breezes blowing in off the sea." more in TreeHugger at: Dubai Gets Less Dubious with Xeritown by SMAQ and X-Architects

and of course there is Masdar, now under construction.
Perhaps after the Great Reboot we will see a Green Dubai.

More Masdar:
Model Ecopolis Called Masdar
Ecocities of Tomorrow: Can Foster + Partners' Masdar City in U.A.E be Truly Sustainable?
More Dubious Dubai
Dubious Dubai
Dubious Dubai: Eco-Bling on the Anara Tower
Chill Out on Dubious Dubai's First Refrigerated Beach
Dubai Jumps the Shark
Rem Koolhaas's Dubai Deathstar
Construction Starting On Dubious Dubai Twirling Tower?

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